Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs

Learn more about the benefits of outpatient substance abuse treatment and how to find the help you need here.

How Black Horse Health Can Support You With Our Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment

At Black Horse Health, we understand the devastating effects that substance use disorder can have on your life – both mentally and physically.

Our team of skilled and compassionate specialists have over 100 years of combined experience. We are committed to helping you or your loved one get the substance abuse treatment you need for holistic healing through our outpatient program.

With evidence-based treatment services such as dual diagnosis treatment, medical detox, and 12-step models, we work with you to craft a treatment plan that addresses your needs while ensuring you remain supported and cared for.

Next Steps Toward Healing

Learn more about our substance abuse outpatient programs, other treatment opportunities, and how our Black Horse Health team of specialists can help you heal in this comprehensive article. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for more information or to begin your path to wellness today.

outpatient substance abuse treatment


Substance abuse can be defined as the excessive use of a substance (drugs or alcohol) in a way that is detrimental to self, society, or both.1

Substance use disorder (SUD) can be a tough battle to fight. Still, there are many treatment options available to help people recover. In this article, we’ll dive into the benefits of outpatient substance abuse treatment. We will also explore whether outpatient substance abuse treatment is right for you.

The Primary Goal of Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

Outpatient substance abuse treatment programs have one main goal: helping others in their recovery. These programs help people overcome their addiction to drugs or alcohol while allowing them to continue living in their own homes and communities.

Outpatient programs are designed for people who don’t need to stay in a treatment facility 24/7. Instead, they receive treatment during scheduled sessions and return to their lives and responsibilities at the end of the day.2

How Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Differs from Inpatient Treatment

Below are some of the differences between outpatient and inpatient treatment.


These programs offer different opportunities in terms of location and time spent in treatment:
  • Outpatient Treatment: In outpatient treatment, patients attend therapy sessions and treatment at a clinic or center. After daily sessions, they go back home.
  • Inpatient Treatment: In inpatient treatment, patients stay at a residential facility 24/7. This level of care is consistent throughout the duration of treatment.


These programs differ in terms of intensity:
  • Outpatient Treatment: Outpatient treatment is less intense. It involves fewer hours of therapy each week.
  • Inpatient Treatment: Inpatient treatment is highly structured and intense. This involves full-time therapy and support.


Outpatient vs. inpatient treatment offer differing levels of freedom – a fact that should be taken into account when discerning which treatment opportunity is more suitable for you or your loved one:
  • Outpatient Treatment: In outpatient programs, clients have more freedom. This helps them maintain work, school, or family commitments.
  • Inpatient Treatment: In inpatient programs, the patient’s focus is solely on recovery. There’s limited involvement in external responsibilities.


The duration of outpatient vs inpatient treatment varies as well:
  • Outpatient Treatment: Outpatient programs vary in length but can be longer-term. This allows gradual progress.
  • Inpatient Treatment: Inpatient care is often shorter and more concentrated. It often lasts 28-90 days.


Outpatient treatment and inpatient treatment offer different levels of support:
  • Outpatient Treatment: Patients rely more on personal support networks at home while undergoing outpatient treatment.
  • Inpatient Treatment: Inpatient treatment provides constant support from staff and peers at the facility.


The cost of outpatient treatment vs inpatient treatment also is distinguishable based on the aforementioned factors:
  • Outpatient Treatment: Outpatient treatment is often less expensive. This is primarily because patients don’t pay for room and board.
  • Inpatient Treatment: Inpatient care can be costly due to the residential nature of the program.

Severity of Addiction

These treatment opportunities both have their pros and cons, depending on the specific needs, circumstances, and experiences of each individual.
Individuals should also consider the severity of their addiction when deciding between these two programs:
  • Outpatient Treatment: Outpatient substance abuse treatment is best suited for people with mild to moderate addiction issues.
  • Inpatient Treatment: Inpatient care is often recommended for those with severe addiction or co-occurring mental health disorders. It’s also ideal for people who need intensive medical detoxification.

What Happens When a Person Has a Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Condition?

Co-occurring mental health disorders, often called dual diagnosis or comorbidity, means that a person is living with both a substance use disorder (like drug or alcohol addiction) and a mental health condition (such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder).3
Co-occurring disorders interact negatively, and each condition can worsen the other. For instance, people may use substances to deal with the effects of mental health conditions. Substance use can cause neurological changes, predisposing people to mental health disorders.4
Recent statistics show that over 9 million people in the U.S. currently have a co-occurring disorder diagnosis.5

How Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Addresses Co-Occurring Disorders

Dealing with substance abuse is challenging. It can become even more complex when someone also lives with mental health issues. Outpatient substance abuse treatments are designed to address the unique needs and challenges.
This care gets delivered through the following channels:

Integrated Care

Outpatient substance abuse treatment programs aim to provide integrated care. This means both substance use and mental health conditions get treated at the same time. This approach helps patients understand how these issues might be connected.

Skilled Professionals

Outpatient facilities employ trained and skilled professionals. This includes:
  • Therapists
  • Counselors
  • Psychiatrists
These professionals are experienced in treating both substance abuse and mental health disorders. They work together as a team to create a personalized treatment plan.

Comprehensive Assessments

Patients undergo thorough assessments to identify the specific mental health issues they face. This assessment helps in tailoring the treatment to meet their unique needs.

Medication Management

This is exclusively for people who need medication to manage their condition. Outpatient substance abuse treatment provides medication management. This ensures that medications get used effectively and safely alongside therapy.

Therapeutic Techniques

Therapy sessions often include evidence-based techniques. These therapy sessions address both substance abuse and mental health. Examples include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). These approaches are used to manage both conditions.

Supportive Environment

Outpatient programs offer a supportive and understanding environment. Here, patients can openly discuss their struggles and challenges. Peer support groups can also help people connect with others facing similar issues.

How Does Black Horse Health Determine if Someone is Suitable for Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment?

As a premier substance abuse treatment center, our knowledgeable and compassionate Black Horse Health team follows a careful process. This helps determine suitable candidates for an intensive outpatient program.

The Candidate Evaluation Process and Initial Assessment

When someone reaches out to Black Horse Health seeking help, we evaluate the person’s unique situation. This includes gathering information about substance abuse history and mental health. We also assess medical history and any previous treatment attempts.

Screening for Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Assessment is then carried out on each person’s needs. These needs should align with intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment. This considers factors like the severity of the substance abuse.
Clients are also evaluated to see if they could benefit from a structured yet flexible treatment approach.

Medical Assessment

A medical assessment is performed to ensure the client is physically healthy enough for treatment. This includes medical readiness to participate in outpatient substance abuse treatment. It’s essential to address any potential health concerns.

Dual Diagnosis Evaluation

We then conduct a dual diagnosis evaluation for those who may have co-occurring mental health disorders alongside substance abuse. This helps identify if additional mental health support is needed.

Treatment Plan Tailoring

Based on the gathered information, a personalized treatment plan gets created. This happens after an intensive outpatient program is deemed suitable. This plan outlines the specific therapies, counseling, and support services each person will receive.

Commitment and Readiness

The person’s commitment and readiness for treatment are also evaluated. Clients need to be willing and motivated to work towards recovery, so the importance of attendance and active participation in the program gets discussed.

Family and Social Support

At Black Horse Health, we take a family system approach to recovery. The presence of a supportive social network, including family and friends, is considered. Having a support system can significantly impact the success of outpatient treatment.6

Legal and External Factors

This includes any legal or external factors, such as court orders or employment requirements. This may also influence the choice of an intensive outpatient program.

The Role of Counseling and Therapy in Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment

Counseling and therapy play a crucial role in outpatient substance abuse treatment. This happens through various processes, some of which are detailed below.

Understanding the Root of the Problem

Counseling and therapy help patients understand the root causes of their addiction. This might involve exploring past traumas and life challenges. These emotional struggles or behavioral patterns may have contributed to substance use.

Building Coping Skills

These sessions teach practical coping skills. This helps manage cravings, stress, and difficult emotions without turning to substances.

Setting Goals

Therapists work with patients to set clear, achievable goals for their recovery journey. These goals provide a sense of direction and motivation.

Identifying Triggers

Clients learn to identify triggers or situations that might lead to substance use.7 Therapists also help create strategies to deal with these triggers effectively. Counseling helps people recognize and change destructive behaviors related to substance abuse.

Improving Self-Esteem

Counseling and therapy focus on boosting self-esteem and self-worth. Building a positive self-image is key to breaking free from addiction.

Strengthening Relationships

Addiction often strains relationships. Therapy helps people repair and strengthen their connections with family and friends. Regular therapy sessions hold them accountable for their actions and progress. It aims to motivate them to stay on the path to recovery.

Mental Health Support

Many people living with addiction also have mental health concerns. Therapy provides a safe space to address issues and receive the right treatment. It also offers a safe space to express emotions. This reduces the need to numb feelings with substances.

Support System

Therapists can involve family members or support groups. This form of care creates a strong support network for people in recovery.

Long-Term Success

Counseling and therapy aren’t just about short-term recovery. They provide tools and strategies for long-term success in staying substance-free. Therapists equip patients with skills to prevent relapse. They create relapse prevention plans and strategies for managing cravings.

How Do Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Programs Incorporate Strategies for Relapse Prevention?

Outpatient substance abuse treatment programs are committed to helping people achieve recovery. This care helps in overcoming addiction and staying on the path to long-term recovery.
Below are some strategies for relapse prevention and maintenance of long-term recovery.

Relapse Prevention Plans

Treatment plans include personalized relapse prevention strategies. These plans outline steps to take if a relapse seems imminent, which helps people stay on track.

Regular Check-Ins

Outpatient programs often involve regular check-in sessions. Routine checks track progress and identify any potential signs of relapse early.

Continuing Care Planning

Outpatient substance abuse treatment helps people create a continuing care plan. Most continuing care plans account for the months and years ahead. This plan includes ongoing therapy and support group attendance. Strategies for staying connected to a recovery community are also outlined.

Alumni Programs

Many outpatient programs, such as the one offered at Black Horse Health, offer alumni programs. This is made up of people who have successfully completed treatment. Each person can stay connected and provide support to other alumni.

Education and Awareness

Staying informed about the risks of relapse and the importance of ongoing recovery is crucial. Treatment programs provide education to empower people to make informed choices.

Healthy Lifestyle

Encouraging a healthy lifestyle is part of long-term recovery. This includes regular exercise, good nutrition, and stress management. These factors contribute to physical and mental well-being.


Outpatient programs emphasize self-care practices to maintain mental and emotional health. This includes:
  • Setting boundaries
  • Managing time effectively
  • Seeking help when needed

Monitoring Mental Health

Ongoing mental health care is integrated into the long-term recovery plan. This is essential for people with co-occurring mental health issues.

Goals of These Strategies

Outpatient substance abuse treatment programs integrate a range of strategies. These strategies aid relapse prevention and long-term recovery maintenance in each treatment plan.
This is done by:
  1.  Identifying triggers
  2.  Teaching coping skills and
  3.  Fostering a supportive environment
These programs empower people to overcome addiction and live a fulfilling, substance-free life.

Are There People Who Aren't Ideal for Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment?

Outpatient treatment is not ideal for everyone. Here are some situations where it might not be the best choice:

Severe Addiction

Outpatient treatment may not provide high intensity of care, especially for people with a severe addiction who need constant supervision and support. In such cases, inpatient or residential treatment might be more suitable.

Safety Concerns

Outpatient treatment may not provide the immediate and controlled environment needed for safety, especially if there are safety issues like a high risk of harm to oneself or others due to addiction.

Lack of Support

Lack of support can make outpatient treatment challenging. This occurs when someone doesn’t have a stable and supportive living environment. Outpatient treatment often relies on a strong support network at home.

Mental Health Crisis

Outpatient treatment alone may not be enough for certain people. This includes people experiencing severe mental health crises alongside addiction. They may need a higher level of care with 24/7 support.

Unwillingness to Participate

Outpatient programs may not be effective when the person isn’t motivated or willing to engage in treatment. A certain level of commitment and readiness is essential for success.

Limited Access to Transportation

Outpatient treatment involves regular sessions. Lacking reliable transportation or living far from the treatment center can pose logistical challenges.

Legal Obligations

In some cases, legal or court orders may request a monitored form of treatment. This may limit patients to inpatient or residential care.
Remember, it’s essential to get a thorough assessment by a qualified professional. This helps to determine the most appropriate treatment option for each person.
Outpatient treatment is a valuable option for many, but it may not be the right fit for everyone. Always consult with a healthcare provider to make the best choice.
outpatient substance abuse treatment

Why Choose Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment at Black Horse Health?

Intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment is a powerful and effective option for people seeking recovery and a brighter future. At Black Horse Health, outpatient programs are curated to suit your unique needs.

Who We Are

Black Horse Health is a premier rehabilitation center in Houston, Texas. We offer treatment for a variety of conditions, such as:
We believe daily disciplines are essential in meeting long-term goals, and we go the extra mile to ensure recovery.

Services We Offer

Our team of trained, industry-certified experts help provide services such as:
  • Medical detox  
  • Sub-acute detox  
  • Inpatient drug rehabilitation
  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Drug rehab aftercare 
The journey to sobriety is never easy. But, with the support and guidance of these programs, you can achieve lasting change.

Contact Black Horse Health Today

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, don’t wait any longer to seek help. Reach out to us today, and take the crucial first step toward a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life. We’re here to help you heal.